”No British cellist has done more to advocate British composers than Raphael Wallfisch… throughout all three works, Wallfisch’s playing evinces that attention to detail, tonal finesse and understated conviction which has long made him an exponent of new and unfamiliar music…” International Record Review
Raphael Wallfischwas born in London into a family of distinguished musicians, his mother the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, and his father the pianist Peter Wallfisch. At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers, including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life’s work.
While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorskyin California (Thornton School of Music), he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetzin the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home. At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competitionin Florence. Since then he has enjoyed aworld-wide careerplaying with such orchestras as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Symphony, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and many others.He is regularly invited to play at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Spoleto, Prades, Oslo and Schleswig Holstein.
Teaching is one of Raphael Wallfisch’s passions and he teaches masterclasses all over the world. Raphael holds professorships in Switzerland at the ZHDKand in London at the Royal College of Music.
His extensive discography of recordings with EMI, Chandos, Black Box, ASV, Naxos and Nimbus includes concertante works by Dohnanyi, Respighi, Barber, Hindemith and Martinu, as well as Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian and a wide range of British cello concertos, including works by MacMillan, Finzi, Delius, Bax, Bliss, Britten, Moeran and Kenneth Leighton. For the Walton Edition on Chandos, he recorded the Cello Concerto originally written for his master Piatigorsky. Raphael’s recent recording – featuring Jewish repertoire by Bloch, Ravel and Caplet – triggered some extensive interest from the media as soon as it was released in January 2014, in time for Holocaust Memorial Day (27 Jan).
In 2015/16 Raphael was soloist in the highly acclaimed Royal Opera House ballet production “Elisabeth”, a unique theater/dance/music piece about Elisabeth I. In 2017 Raphael began a large scale recording project for the German label CPO, in which 5 cello concertos by exiled Jewish composer were recorded. This project continues in 2018 with further recordings in Norway and the UK of composers such as Weinberg, Ben Haim, Bloch and Korngold. 2018 began with a historic performance at the German parliament in Berlin to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and continues with performances throughout Europe and Israel including returning to Royal Opera House Ballet to perform Elizabeth 1 at the Barbican Centre in May, performances with the Dresden Philharmonic and recitals and concerts throughout Germany, the Netherlands, Chna, South Africa, Ireland and the United Kingdom with pianist John York and Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch.
Leading British composers thathave worked closely with and written for Raphael Wallfisch include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, John Metcalf, Paul Patterson, Robert Simpson, Robert Saxton, Roger Smalley, Giles Swayne, John Tavener, Jonathan Dove and Adrian Williams.
Alongside his solo career, Raphael also greatly enjoys touring with his piano trio which he and his colleagues Hagai Shaham (violin) and Arnon Erez (piano) founded in 2009 – Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch. Four recordings on Nimbus have been released so far, each receiving the highest critical acclaim. He continues to perform extensively with his duo partner, the acclaimed pianist, John York, with whom he has recorded and performed extensively with for over 30 years.
Raphael Wallfisch plays on a Romberg Montagnana and a 1760 Gennaro Gagliano.
This biography is valid until September 2018
“Mr. Wallfisch brought the house down with a tremendous display of considerable interpretive substance… The performance was a marvellous success.”
“… In Raphael Wallfisch’s hands it had a joyful charm and ease… the soloist’s multiple-string chords and rapid changes of register were negotiated effortlessly… Wallfisch’s tone was full and sweet. The rapid passagework was nimble but also had tuneful presence… He made light work of the virtuosities… his full vibrato and strong tone firmly established a mood of indulgent melancholy… Wallfisch was again untroubled by the technical demands made of the soloist …” (Haydn Cello Concerto in C | Rossini ”Une Larme” for Cello and Orchestra – Firebird Orchestra, Jonathan Bloxham, cond.)”
“Raphael Wallfisch has complete mastery of this passionate and personal work, pouring forth the Allegro’s gravitas with formidable insight. Melancholic symmetry suffused the central movement, memorably yielding to emotional catharsis.” (Finzi Cello Concerto with Bouremouth Symphony Orchestra)”
“Raphael’s gloriously rich, sonorous solo lines…”
“… Then came the Proms premiere, a mere 104 years after it was written, of Granville Bantock’s Sapphic Poem, for cello and orchestra. Laying out Bantock’s long, singing lines with little apparent effort, soloist Raphael Wallfisch enchanted his audience with the cello’s delightfully mournful tones.”
The Evening Standard
"Wallfisch and the sumptuously recorded Konzerthausorchester Berlin under Nicholas Milton remain firmly persuasive advocates of both concertos".
'Voices from the Wilderness' CD, BBC Music Magazine, February 2018
".. from the Kurt Weill-like song of its slow movement on the double-stopped cello to the swashbuckling spirit of the finale"
'Voices from the Wilderness' CD, Gramophone, February 2018